“Why?” “What is the purpose?” These two questions motivate the curious. These are also two questions that can lead to existential crisis, one catalyst of stress and anxiety.
So, why am I here? What is the purpose of this blog? At least the latter is a simple question to answer! Not too long ago, anxiety hit me like a ninja, freight train. The experience was costly in so many ways. With a lot of effort and experimentation, I think I found a way to beat it for good.
Before my wife and I were married, she decided to start a blog. Through her blog she has met many people and has been exposed to many new ideas that have lead to her personal and professional growth. For her, the act of writing out her thoughts is also a form of therapy. But, I don’t necessarily like writing and don’t want to blog. Her reasons aren’t my reasons. My reason was anxiety.
Over the last few years, I’ve faced and luckily overcome challenges with stress and anxiety. At my lowest point I wasn’t sure if I would ever feel good again. I never lost hope. Life was never ash in my mouth. But, nearly every day included far too much suffering to be happy or healthy. Sometimes I didn’t have good days and bad days. There were good minutes and bad minutes.
I grew tired of it! I really wanted to recover. ..And I didn’t want to solve my problem with handfuls of pills, hypnosis or having a therapist on speed-dial. So one fateful day, I abandoned hope for all things material and made my life goal: “Figure out how to feel good.” Very simple.
During that time of self therapy and discovery I tried yoga, meditation, exercise and read self-help books. After having some positive experiences with meditation, I came to the understanding that what works for one person may not work for another. Everyone’s experience will be different. One size does not fit all.
Eventually I found something that worked for me. Color to the world was restored. I felt like life was suddenly in easy mode. I could run faster, think clearer and was highly resistant to (but not immune to) every day frustrations. I’ll talk more about how I recovered from anxiety in a future post.
Armed with new levels of mindfulness, I became aware that a surprising number of people suffer through anxiety and other conditions, all the while avoiding asking friends or family for help out of fear of being labeled as weak, defective or even crazy. How often has someone outright told you they feel anxiety, stress or that they’re losing it? That they feel like they might spontaneously die? Not many, I bet. For some readers, maybe none.
The next time you’re in a large public place, look around… The odds are high that one or more people around you is silently suffering from anxiety or other mental stresses. According to the National Institute of Health’s analysis of anxiety disorders among adults, nearly 23% of the U.S. population is affected by anxiety each year, with about 4% of the country also afflicted by severe cases.
As I started to recover physically and mentally from the damage of stress and anxiety, I started talking more openly with strangers about my experiences with it. I saw that 23% statistic reflected in those private conversations. I’m keenly aware that what’s worked for me may will not work for everyone. But will it work for anyone at all?
My wife encouraged me to blog because it’s something she enjoys. If there’s anything to write about, I thought it could be about my relationship with anxiety. Based on just a few conversations I had, I feel this is a topic the world needs to know more about.
I hope that by sharing my experiences here on this blog, that others facing the challenges that I faced will be afforded with the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and successes. At the very least, to know that they’re not alone.
The road to happiness is different for everyone. The purpose and the why is what you make it out to be. Stop, smell the roses and don’t forget to breathe.